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Province forecasts anticipated demand for workers

Dear Working Wise: What careers will be in the highest demand in the future? I’m trying to decide on a career and a school, but I want a job that pays well when I’m done.

Do you have any advice? — Searching Student

Dear Searching: It’s difficult to say for sure what the future holds, but the government of Alberta did just release a report last week that you might find helpful.

The Occupational Demand and Supply Outlook 2013-2023 forecasts the anticipated demand for workers for the next 10 years. More importantly, it reveals expected labour shortages and surpluses by comparing the forecasted demand to the predicted supply of workers.

The Alberta government produces the 10-year outlook to focus training dollars in strategic areas to minimize labour and skills shortages.

According to the latest outlook, 407,000 new jobs are expected to be added in Alberta over the coming decade, while only 311,000 new workers will join our workforce — leaving us a shortage of approximately 96,000 workers in 2023. This is an improvement from two years ago, when the shortage was estimated at 114,000, but as you can see, there will be a lot of opportunities in Alberta’s workforce over the next decade.

These new job opportunities will not be limited to entry-level, lower-paying, or part-time positions. Some of the biggest shortages are expected in the health care, construction, retail, operations/maintenance and energy sectors.

The top-20 biggest predicted shortages include:

1. Veterinarians (15.9 per cent)

2. Family physicians (15.6 per cent)

3. Dentists (15.2 per cent)

4. Oil & Gas Drilling/Service labourers (12.7 per cent)

5. Physiotherapists (11.9 per cent)

6. Construction trades labourers/helpers (11.7 per cent)

7. Occupational therapists (11.4 per cent)

8. Landscaping/grounds maintenance labourers (11.3 per cent)

9. Biologists (11 per cent)

10. Trades labourers/helpers (10 per cent)

11. Pharmacists (9.9 per cent)

12. Dieticians/nutritionists (9.9 per cent)

13. Head nurses (9.7 per cent)

14. Registered nurses (9.5 per cent)

15. Senior managers, financial/communications (8.4 per cent)

16. Dental hygienists (8.3 per cent)

17. Retail managers (8.2 per cent)

18. Heavy equipment operators (8.2 per cent)

19. Public works and maintenance labourers (8.2 per cent)

20. Janitors/caretakers (7.7 per cent).

You can read the complete list of results for nearly 300 occupations in Appendix D of the Occupational Demand and Supply Outlook 2013-2023 at

Employers and managers may find the forecast helpful in planning their staff attraction and retention strategies. Students and young Albertans may also find the outlook helpful while they are researching potential careers.

You can learn more about any occupation that interests you by visiting the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) web site at

ALIS has profiles (OccInfo) of more than 500 occupations, including working conditions, typical salaries, and required education/training. ALIS also offers 240 occupational videos that provide overviews and interviews with people who work in each occupation.

Working Wise is compiled by Charles Strachey, a manager with Alberta Human Services, for general information. He can be contacted at



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